Three Iranian Baha’is detained in Gilanvand Village in Iran’s capital Tehran have been denied family visits and phone calls, 13 days after their arrest.
The three men and women identified as Monireh Bavil Saflaie, Minoo Zamani and Gholamhossein Mazloumi are kept in Evin Prison in an undetermined state.
Prison officials refuse to give their families a response on the fate of their loved ones despite their constant queries.
The families of the detained Iranian Baha’is went to Evin court six times in the past two weeks to ask about their condition. The families are especially concerned because Monireh Bavil Saflaie, Minoo Zamani and Gholamhossein Mazloumi suffer from various ailments. During their last visit to Evin court, prison officials refused to take the medicine the families had brought for their loved ones.
They were told that the prisoners were banned from family visits and phone calls until the completion of interrogations.
Monireh Bavil Saflaie, Minoo Zamani and Gholamhossein Mazloumi were detained on Saturday August 10 by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. Reports indicate that the agents searched their homes and confiscated some of their personal belongings including their laptops, cellphones and religious images.
Reports indicate that the three were detained for following up the desecration of a grave belonging to a Baha’i woman in Gilanvand.
The body of Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian was taken out of her grave in Gilandvand, a town in Damavand, a few days after she was buried in the Baha’i Golestan Javid Cemetery in October 2018. Her body was thrown in the surrounding fields.
Though the act of desecration was carried out by unknown persons, security forces had warned Baha’is in Gilandvand that they were not allowed to bury their deceased loved ones in this graveyard and had to bury them in the Tehran.
Before this, a court in a northeastern Iran province sentenced nine Iranian Baha’is to hefty prison terms.
The Birjad court in Southern Khorasan province sentenced each of the Baha’i men and women to six years of prison and confiscated money raised by the Baha’i community in the city.
Unofficial sources say that there are more than 300,000 people following the Bahá’í Faith in Iran. However the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize Baha’ism.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iranian Baha’is have been systematically persecuted as a matter of government policy. During the first decade of this persecution, more than 200 of Iran’s Baha’is were killed or executed, hundreds more were tortured or imprisoned, and tens of thousands lost jobs, access to education, and other rights – all solely because of their religious belief.
Attacks on Iranian Baha’is or Baha’i-owned properties go unprosecuted and unpunished, creating a sense of impunity for attackers. Since 2005, for example, there have been at least 52 incidents of arson against Baha’i properties, crimes for which no one has been arrested.
During the same period, at least 60 incidents of vandalism or desecration at Baha’i cemeteries have been recorded. As noted by a top UN human rights official, the government-led persecution spans “all areas of state activity, from family law provisions to schooling, education, and security.”